SJIB hosts foster parent training seminar

POSTED: 11/30/14 10:55 PM

St. Maarten – A group of 12 participants recently completed the Foster Parent Training Seminar, which was given by the Foundation Judiciary Institutes Windward Islands (SJIB), to become foster care mentors and foster care parents for children in the foster care system. SJIB rehabilitates persons in need of this service and is responsible for the protective care of minors in accordance with the civil code of the Netherlands Antilles. SJIB recently partnered with local K1 Britannia Foundation to start the Foster Care Program through which persons in the St. Maarten community can sign up to become foster care parents, mentors or volunteers.

The training, which was given over eight two-hour sessions, followed the accredited STAP procedure. Participants were taught parenting styles and strategies, placement and procedures, positive discipline, communication skills, promotion of responsible and independent behavior in children and sexual, physical and emotional abuse. In general, mentors are paired with 1 to 2 children who are in the foster care system and volunteer a minimum of 8 hours a month. Mentors help these children with homework, participate in out-of-school activities and become a person whom the child can turn to for advice.

There are currently 94 children under the care of SJIB. These children are placed in protective custody due to the loss of parents, various forms of abuse and neglect. The goal of this collaboration between SJIB and K1 Britannia is to match this number so that every child can have one-on-one time with a mentor.

Besides undergoing training, foster care parents go through physiological testing and home visits. These foster parents become the child’s new family. For persons who only have a few hours to spare and do not want to go through training, they can also sign up as volunteers. Those who volunteer take an hour out of their week to help the foster homes with various tasks, such as homework or activities in a group setting. Persons interested in volunteering can contact the K1 Britannia Foundation, who has been coordinating the project with SJIB.

K1 Britannia’s mission is to bring lasting help and change to troubled and needy youth and children on the island of St. Maarten. They have been working with the three foster homes on the island, organizing a various programs and activities for children. Co-Founder Priya Thirumur points out that that becoming a foster parent, mentor or volunteer can change a child’s life.

Together, SJIB and K1 Britannia plan to rally as many volunteers, mentors and foster care parents as possible for upcoming training sessions in February, June and October 2015. For those interested in being part of an important community program contact SJIB at sjib@sintmaarten.net at or K1 Britannia at foundation@k1britannia.org

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